In a potentially landmark case, an Italian court has ruled that excessive, work-related use of a mobile phone caused an executive to develop a benign brain tumour.
In a ruling handed down on April 11 but only made public on Thursday, the court in the northern town of Ivrea awarded the plaintiff a state-funded pension. The ruling is subject to a possible appeal.
The worker, 57-year-old Roberto Romeo, used the company mobile phone for three hours a day for a long time without protection, bringing about the non-cancerous tumor and the consequent loss of hearing in one ear, Phys.org cited."The standards say severe use is one hour a day," Romeo told Sky TG24. "I went well past the limit." Romeo sued the social security agency, not Telecom Italia, where he still works. And he added "but I believe we have to be more aware about how to use them".
"I started to have the feeling of my right ear being blocked all the time and the tumour was diagnosed in 2010. Happily, it was benign but I can no longer hear anything because they had to remove my acoustic nerve."
A medical expert estimated the damage to Romeo at 23 percent of his bodily function; under the decision, Romeo will receive a compensation in the vicinity of 6,000 and 7,000 euros ($6,000-$7,500) a year. The Codacons consumer insurance agency says it is thinking about a class-action in view of the Romeo choice to have mobile phones carrying health warnings in Italy, and furthermore to have the health dangers related to mobile phone use recognized generally by Italy's social security agency.
Attorney Stefano Bertone said in a statement Thursday that it was the first trial court decision of which he knew on the planet "to perceive a connection between mobile phone use and the development of brain tumor."
Scientific studies of the potential health risks of mobile phones have mostly concluded that they pose no serious risk to human health at the level of most people's use. Heavier use may pose some risk, other studies have found, and many experts say it is too early to do a proper assessment of what is a relatively new technology.
Industry experts and academics have long disputed statements which allege that cellphone usage causes or heightens the risk of cancer in people. “The scientific consensus is strong, and is that there is no substantiated evidence that the low levels of radiofrequency emissions encountered by mobile telecommunications can cause any harm,” stated Professor Rodney Croft – the Director of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia’s Centre for Research Excellence in Electromagnetic Energy – in 2016.
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